5G Rollout: Ready, set, go!


IN EARLY October 2022, Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) announced that it had executed share subscription agreements (SSAs) with four telcos — namely Celcom Axiata Bhd (Celcom Axiata), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi), YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YTL) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM). Note that Celcom Axiata and Digi will take up a 12.5% stake each, YTL Communications and TM will have 20% each and The Ministr y of Finance (MoF) will take up the remaining 35% stake. 

As expected, by the end of Octo- ber 2022, five local telecommunication companies (telcos) — Digi, U Mobile, TM, YTL and Celcom Axiata — have finally signed the Access Agreement (AA) with DNB for access to Malaysia’s 5G Single Wholesale Network (SWN). 

5G Network Ready to Rollout 

The signing of the AA indicates that Malaysia will experience a 5G network starting Nov 1, 2022. Telco players have already executed the AA with DNB. We understand that the government has maintained the SWN model for the 5G rollout and we think that with the current technology, network differentiation is still possible among the telco players as they would be able to enhance their products to suit the customers’ demand and preferences. 

As for TM, the provision of 5G services will help to accelerate the adoption of fixed-mobile coverage via 5G and fixed broadband solutions. U Mobile, on the other hand, has introduced a few 5G-ready postpaid plans namely U Postpaid 38 (30GB of 4G and 5G data), U Postpaid 68 (100GB of 4G and 5G data) and U Postpaid 98 (1,000GB of 4G and 5G data).

As for Celcom, its customers with compatible 5G phones on selected Celcom and Xpax postpaid and prepaid plans will automatically be able to enjoy 5G services within DNB’s coverage areas. Aside from that, it is worth noting that DNB still opened the door for Maxis to sign the AA despite an expired deadline. 

All in all, we are positive on the AA as this will give a clearer pathway for Malaysia telco players to enhance their products. The advent of the 5G network will give all the telco providers in our country the ability to serve a multitude of use cases with lightning-fast connectivity. Aside from that, we think that the government’s decision to maintain the SWN model for the 5G network rollout is the best approach as it will save cost. 

However, we think that the 5G rollout might increase wholesale pricing. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition